Australia and PNG are scheduled to hold a discussion on immigration policies to decide the fate of 900 asylum seekers after Papua New Guinea’s recent announcement regarding the shutting down of the island detention centre.
PNG’s decision of closure of the entrance to already existing detainees has put Aussie’s strict refugee policies into a dilemma especially since the Australian elections are around the corner. According to Wall Street Journal, the decision might prompt the Australian conservative government to search for a proper place for the 900 detainees on Manus Island. The way the Australian government treated the asylum seekers would be the central issue during the Aussie elections scheduled on July 2, 2016. Hence, it will be one of the most crucial talks to be held next week.
“Respecting this ruling, Papua New Guinea will immediately ask the Australian government to make alternative arrangements for the asylum seekers currently held at the Regional Processing Centre,” said a statement released by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
The number of refugees attempting to enter Australia is far less than the number of asylum seekers arriving Europe. The Australian government must make sure the talks are successful as it will determine the win or loss of a party during July elections. Australia’s not-so-good treatment of asylum seekers including sending back boats filled with refugees to their point of origin and refusing them to resettle in Australia have been severely criticised by the United Nations and other international agencies, according to the report by Reuters.
Aussie Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Wednesday that the court ruling that led PNG to close the doors for remaining asylum seekers at Manus Island would hardly pose any effect on Canberra’s immigration policies. “The [Australian] government has not resiled from its position that people who have attempted to come illegally by boat to Australia and who are now in the Manus facility will not be settled in Australia,” Minister Dutton said.